Quitting is for losers.
That’s the conventional wisdom whether we are talking about jobs, clubs, hobbies or any other venture. And so we suck it up, plod on and try to cram enough enjoyable stuff into our lives in order to offset the drudgery. In the end, we’re so busy, so overscheduled and so scattered that even the fun stuff becomes another task on our “to do” list.
A few years ago I made a decision to quit playing golf.
Lured by the promise of new business relationships, I had played the game pretty actively for four or five years, taken some lessons and even belonged to a club.
But I sucked at golf.
It wasn’t the game. It was me.
It stressed me out.
It offered little aerobic benefit and for me, four hours is a long time to hold a conversation with anyone.
About the same time I quit golf, I also took up running and ultimately triathlons. The health benefits were better and with a family, I couldn’t rationalize rising at dawn to swim, bike and run for four hours, then zig-zagging around in a little white cart chasing a little white ball until dinner time.
Something had to go and it was a no-brainer.
Telling people I quit wasn’t easy. I get about a dozen invitations to play golf per year, almost entirely from people who have never seen my swing. Some want to hang out with me and some want to sell me something. My time is limited, so it was easy to decline by citing a packed schedule. It wasn’t until last year that I got the courage to start telling people, “Thanks for the invitation, but I don’t play golf.”
It was awkward the first few times, but I grew prouder and bolder each time I disavowed a game that had bruised my ego and stolen my time for too long.
Business didn’t suffer as I quickly found that a quick lunch or cup of coffee is a great alternative for worthwhile gatherings and on the bright side, I’m able to weed out most sales pitches by simply proposing a 10-mile run instead.